Ideal for larger plots, Romanesco Broccoli produces incredible swirls of florets that look stunning on the plot and plate. The delicious nutty flavour is irresistible too.
It matures during the summer, so you'll need to be vigilant for caterpillars produced by cabbage white butterflies and protect with fine netting if necessary.
Time from seed to plate: 12 weeks
Romanesco broccoli is best sown in April or May. Gutters filled with compost are a very convenient way of sowing, but Jiffy 7s in a propagator also work well.
If using a gutter create a groove about 1/2 inch deep and sow the seeds leaving 1-2 inches between each one. Cover with compost/soil, firm and water gently. When seedlings emerge thin them to leave 3 inches between each plant.
Sowing method: Gutters or Propagator Kit
Move the seedlings to their final growing positions about one month after sowing. Gently separate out gutter sown plants with a trowel and plant individually in long rows leaving 2ft between plants.
Broccoli is a hungry plant, so plant in ground that's had plenty of well rotted manure dug in. Sprinkle around some organic slug killer to deter slugs/snails.
Because this is a summer maturing vegetable it's important to be vigilant for cabbage white caterpillars. They can be surprisingly difficult to spot, until you notice the devastation the wreak on your plants. Pick them off as you see them, or to be doubly sure, cover with fine netting - ideally not touching the leaves, otherwise butterflies will lay their eggs through it!
By the time summer arrives a head should have formed on each plant. Either break off individual stalks and use as required or take the full head off.
When cooking romanesco it's best to lightly steam. This retains the flavour and texture better than boiling.